Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:5-6
We’ve had this discussion before, at least in bits and pieces, but it’s worth repeating – I let you guys down. I’ll try to explain and keep it short at the same time. Forgive me if I repeat things I have already shared with you.
In 1984 I became a Christian, but not a very good one. I either was not being taught well (at the church I was going to), or I wasn’t listening well (probably the latter), and I soon fell away from my faith because of my discouragement. In 1988, when you guys were born, I still considered myself to be a Christian (and maybe I was), but I sure wasn’t acting like one. For the next 12 years, I behaved worse and worse. As a result, for the first 12 years of your lives, I was not raising you boys in the ways of the Lord. Sure, we did other things and had some good times (I don’t think I was a total jerk), but I dropped the ball by not raising you in a solid Christian home; by not being the Christian leader that God desires all men to be. By the time your sister came on the scene in 2000, I had rededicated my life to Jesus. From then to now, I’ve been trying to play catch up with you guys. I started leading you at 12 years old, but I had essentially allowed the world to raise you in its ways for those early years.
I noticed your resentment, even though you never really said anything. I tried to teach gently, but often pushed hard, trying to make up for that lost time. To make matters worse, I’d tell you to do one thing and then do something hypocritical, completely undermining whatever good thing was to be found in the message. For these things I am sorry. I wish there was a way to go back, but there is not. Because of these failures on my part since your birth, you have been scarred. You are who you are, at least in part, because I failed in the role of ‘Christian Dad.’
So why am I telling you this now?
First let me tell you that I’m not beating myself up in an effort to make you feel a little better.
I know what I did (or didn’t do) was wrong and I’ve made my peace with God. I don’t have to hang my head in shame for the rest of my life. Jesus has forgiven me, and I (we) can learn from the experience. No, I’m sharing these things for another reason – you need to move on. By that I mean you need to accept that there is a reason for your personalities and behaviors, and not let those reasons prevent you from being the men that Jesus wants you to be. You must make up the lost ground that I allowed to slip by, regardless if you blame me or not. In other words, you cannot use as an excuse that you had a lousy Christian dad for the first part of your life. This is the hand that you were dealt, and rather than continue to play a bad handful of cards, it’s time to fold and get a new set of cards.
You must make up the lost ground…”
It’s time to put away the old and put on the new.
It’s time for Jesus, full-time.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
You may be wondering why I am airing dirty laundry. Well don’t worry too much, nobody really reads this blog. I’m a firm believer that experience is the BEST teacher, but it doesn’t have to your experience. Maybe somebody can actually learn from this without having to go through it themselves. As time goes by you need to know what I never knew: the time to prepare for becoming a husband or a dad is before you become one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to make up for lost time; and God does honor that, but it’s better to get it right from the beginning.
I love you both and I want nothing but the best for you, and the best for you is Jesus.
Talk to you soon!